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Old 13-06-2008, 17:12   #1
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Advice on Buying DeFever Trawler

I am thinking about buying a 1990 Defever Pilothouse. Any advice on problems to look for on this model ? Is Defever a good brand of boat? Any problems with them over the years?

Jim
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Old 13-06-2008, 19:22   #2
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Never been on one but from what I've read DeFever is one of the most enduring names in Long Range Cruisers that you'll find. There was an article in April Passagemaker Magazine on a 45 yr old DeFever that's still going strong. I like the classic lines of these LRC's. Their designers really had an eye for style and proportion. I'd say they're in a class almost by themselves, well I'd put them up there with Selene's, Ocean Alexander's and Flemmings.
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Old 13-06-2008, 19:29   #3
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Defever made a lot of good boats. You genrally can't win the ugly boatb contest with them. Being a 1990 boat may present problems that are related to the period of time it was built and the age of the boat and less a refelction on the builder and more on the past owner(s). Our boat is a 1991 sailboat so while not of similar type the age presents problems that are hard to predict without a detailed survey. A lot of things that may have been built right the first time don't stand up to almost 20 years of age and use. You will have things to tend to. Perhaps many small things and maybe a few medium sized things. They generally don't show up in perfect condition with this much age. If there was any neglect it will be hard to hide in a survey. Long periods of sitting in a slip does terrible things to engines.

If you can check the boat out yourself as good as you can then you can decide based on your own research if the price works and then proceed to survey and sea trial. A boat like this has alot of small places and spaces and is usually well equipped.

The nickel and dime stuff adds up and you need to start a list. Your surveyor should help you decide if you can afford to fall in love or not. This is a time when the money does matter.
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Old 14-06-2008, 04:52   #4
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DeFever Cruisers:
DeFever Designs: DeFever Cruisers - A Club for Yachting Enthusiasts with a Passion for DeFever Vessels and the Cruising Life!

I like (Art) DeFever’s “cruiser” designs, with their high flared bow, sharp wave entry, deep stable fore-foot and gentle curving shear lines.
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Old 14-06-2008, 18:01   #5
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I considered a Defever when I was looking. It was the top one on my list. Best layout, features/$ etc. Turned out the stringers were rotten. The owner had to scrap the boat. That was the first thing the surveyor looked at because he had seen that on more than one older Defever. I asked him if he would recommend I not look at Defevers in the future. He said, no definitely look at them, they are good boats. Just make sure to get a survey.

I was bummed out because it really was top on my list. I ended up not finding a trawler in my price range and ended up with a sedan cruiser.

Note, this was an early 80's boat, so they may have improved things by the 90's.

When I look for my next boat, unless my tastes have changed to sailing by then, Defever will probably still be at the top of my list.
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Old 15-06-2008, 01:18   #6
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DeFevers have been constructed by different builders, all over the world, so it might be expected to see varying quality.

ie:
Many early DeFevers (1960s) were constructed of wood at the Lindwall yard in Santa Barbara.
Over the next decade, many of Art's designs were constructed of wood at the Oriental Boat Company in Japan, and a few of steel in Guyamas, Mexico.
The Passagemaker 34 and 40 were manufactured at Jensen Marine in California, while the others were built by CTF in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and more recently, by POCTA in mainland China.
The Performance Offshore Cruisers of the 1980s were built at the Sen Koh yard, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
The deFever 41, built in the 1980s, were first by Miracle Marine Corporation (MMC), and later by Bluewater Yachts, both of Taiwan.
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Old 17-06-2008, 08:11   #7
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Takara, my father's boat, is a Defever 41' that was built in 1986 by Bluewater Yachts in Taiwan. Back then we were selling lots of hatches to boat builders and my dad had the opportunity to have a lot custom work done.

Stainless rails, extra fuel tanks, refurbished fly bridge, all A+H hatches and ports instead of the wooden framed ones, installed roller hatch for companion way access on the stern, proper bowsprit, 'cruising style' refrigeration (instead of the bulky stand up ones that were standard), rounded off all the sharp corners down below... are some of the changes that he had made during the trip.

Basically, he wanted a Grand Banks but didn't want to pay the extra 100G's for it. It turned out to be the right choice because he was able to get exactly what he wanted on the defever. Something about how Grand Banks wouldn't do everything he wanted like change the crappy wooden framed hatches/ports for our Almag line or add rails to maintain their 'look' and 'image' of the brand.

So, the moral of the story is; the defever is a great boat. Takara spent 3 years cruising the Bahamas when she was first delievered and has spent the last 20 odd years cruising the Great Lakes. No major problems except maybe the teak decks need to be replaced soon, the mast had to be replaced and of course the general boat repairs that most everyone has to face after 23 years of cruising.
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Old 28-07-2008, 05:06   #8
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You might check out the Defever cruisers site:
DeFever Cruisers Member Benefits - A Club for Yachting Enthusiasts with a Passion for DeFever Vessels and the Cruising Life!

About the DeFever 49 Pilothouse:
DeFever Cruisers - A Club for Yachting Enthusiasts with a Passion for DeFever Vessels and the Cruising Life!

David Pascoe has numerous (didn’t see DeFevers, though) power boat reviews, and MUCH MORE at:
Boat Reviews by David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor - Index
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Old 03-12-2008, 08:38   #9
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i bought my 1983 41ft defever in 1994 and have cruised from canada to guatemala putting 40K nm on him (our boat is DEFINATELY a man) while living aboard since purchase. Nomad has a 135 hp single perkins and burns 2 gal/hr at 7-8kts. we've upgraded the electronics, replaced the autopilot/generator and done some cosmetic work. otherwise the boat has been a dream---very little maintenance other than routine p.m.---oh yeah,forgot about the teak work--GAWD--it's got alot of teak but hey, i'm retired and what else do we have to do? i do have a blister problem tho (see "teeny tiny blisters" in this section) but w/ solid glass hull and no blisters below the waterline, it's no big deal ( i hope). i love our boat and wouldn't sell it if we won the lotto. defever makes a GREAT boat that should last a lifetime w/ proper TLC...
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Old 26-11-2011, 08:09   #10
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Re: Advice on buying Defever Trawler

Looking at 1976 Defever 34ft w Perkins diesel. Should I be afraid of a boat this old. Expect a clean survey but engine is old.
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Old 26-11-2011, 09:07   #11
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Re: Advice on buying Defever Trawler

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Originally Posted by Mikemenzies View Post
Looking at 1976 Defever 34ft w Perkins diesel. Should I be afraid of a boat this old. Expect a clean survey but engine is old.
No. There are 3 parts of the survey process before purchase. Engine survey. Besides inspection you need to sample the oil in anything that contains lubricating oil and have it analyzed. Then the sea trial. On a power boat your mechanic should be aboard for this. Then the out of the water hull and systems inspection or survey. If you expect a clean survey there should be no problems. Parts are still available for your motor.
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Old 26-11-2011, 09:56   #12
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Re: Advice on buying Defever Trawler

As a proffesional boat builder/shipwright, I have worked on many DeFevers over the years, including doing the factory commission after import for many years. I would definitely never own one, and not because it's a power boat either. The problems I have seen are legion, including some that caused the boat to be a total loss. They are a great example of the worst Taiwan had to offer IMHO. I've already posted some pics of scary factory repairs on this site, a number were pics of DeFevers. The quality has gone up in recent years, and we no longer commission them so I dont work on them as often as I used to, so maybe if it's a new boat I'd look at it. But the track record is not good....
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Old 26-11-2011, 09:57   #13
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Re: Advice on buying Defever Trawler

At that age the original mfr is less important than the previous owner(s) and the maintenance history. Personally I have very little faith in the whole survey process. IMHO with older boats if the buyer isn't capable of evaluating the mechanical condition of the boat himself then he is doomed to disappointment. We bought a 1980 Defever about a year ago now and we are delighted with our purchase but you better be aware that you are well past the warranty expiration date.
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Old 26-11-2011, 10:07   #14
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Re: Advice on buying Defever Trawler

Hi Mike... owned and lived aboard a Defever 54 for about 6 years that I found in Bainbridge Island, WA. I was the third owner and was fortunate that the previous owners were knowledgeable and willing to keep her in top shape. She was built in the Oriental Boatyard, Japan and the workmanship was outstanding. We replaced decks, hatches and deck boxes forward of the portuguese bridge, older electronics, autopilot and updated the interior. Cruised her from WA state to the top of Desolation Sound, BC then down to San Diego. Without a doubt one of the best LRC I have ever been aboard. I understand that the subsequent owner found some rot on the port side above the waterline and replaced 2-3 planks but other than that she remains sound. Powered by twin CAT D330's that ran about 4gal/hr at 7.5 knots. Art DeFever has been aboard and was heartened that she remained in such good shape. He recalled being at the yard in Japan when she was splashed and said she looked every bit as good as when she was launched. The advice from Vyndance II above is sound and I support his point of view. If you are considering a wooden hulled vessel, be sure to engage a surveyor with considerable experience in wooden boats. Oil analysis should be performed by the engine manufacturer (CAT dealer in Seattle did ours). Good luck with your purchase. Capt Phil
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Old 27-11-2011, 15:35   #15
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Re: Advice on Buying DeFever Trawler

There were many yards in Taiwan building Defever designs. Many are great but like any boat a buyer has to take a good look.
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